Why food safe HDPE plastic replaced glass as the go-to milk container.
Many of you, should you be older than 60, may remember the “Milk Man”. This delivery service from decades ago, was a most common way of transporting milk to the consumer. Back then, suppliers used glass bottles, delivered by this milk man, right to your front door.
HDPE is Food Safe
When looking at alternatives, the milk processing industry found a use and benefit from replacing the glass with a plastic called High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). But what is HDPE, and what are the benefits of using it?
Glass is heavy, HDPE plastic is light
One of the characteristics of this thermoplastic is the weight of the material. The reason this is so beneficial brings us back to the milk jug. Old style glass milk containers could hold 32 oz., with the empty glass weighing 1.25 lbs. An empty gallon water or milk jug (128 oz.) weighs in at only 0.25 lbs, and holds 4 times more volume. When full, the milk jug can hold more volume than the glass bottle without compromising the strength, especially when being transported. This lowers the overall transport time and significantly reduces the cost of shipping.
This drop in weight and large increase in capacity is why the industry made the switch. The attribute of high durability in plastic materials like HDPE is known as the “strength to weight ratio”. As already mentioned, this was a huge benefit from switching to HDPE containers – the impact it has on transport costs. The high impact resistance of the material allows for easy transport. The HDPE jugs can withstand the jarring and bumping that is a natural part of mass transit, with almost zero wear or breakage to the product. Compared to the glass bottle, too hard of a turn or a pothole in the road could lead to the disheartening sound of shattering glass… not an ideal result for the distributing company. The HDPE impact resistance still holds true through out the supply chain, and even when the containers enter a store or home. If a HDPE milk jug should fall, the plastic container may spill, but it won’t cause the harm or damage that glass would. Broken glass poses a hazard and a risk, whereas plastic in this case can be easily cleaned, recycled, and used again.
When discussing this topic, the argument of recycling and sustainability sets its sights on plastics. In reality, the carbon footprint of plastics is much smaller than that of glass. The amount of heat necessary to heat up plastic for recycling is dramatically lower than that of glass, making it more sustainable in the long run. Yes, both are 100% recyclable, but the amount of fuel necessary plays a big factor. The temperature needed for melting and processing HDPE is between 248 and 356°F depending on grade. Whereas glass requires a minimum temperature of 2,600°F, according to SeattlePI. As you can see, these temperatures are very different, and shows why the life cycle of plastic is more eco-friendly and a better option to preserve our environment.
Immensely versatile HDPE applications
HDPE has many more uses, like in structural tanks, FDA approved cutting boards and industrial piping systems. This material outweighs most alternatives in benefits due to it’s cost and performance, and is produced in sheet and rod by many major manufacturers in the USA. HDPE plastics are FDA and NSF approved for food applications, making HDPE a food safe product for most food processing and packing applications. For more details on HDPE and it’s benefits see Industrial Plastic Supply or call 866-832-9315
What other applications could benefit from newer and improved materials to make our world safer, cleaner and more efficient?
The quick answer is: the opposite of single use plastic.
Performance plastics are a wide range of materials that are designed for use in mechanical, engineering, aerospace, food processing, and many other applications. These performance plastic materials generally have superior physical properties, and frequently are used to replace other materials like metals, wood and glass.
Most performance plastic sheets and rods are machinable, and can be used to replace other substrates that can not stand up to the same demanding applications that these performance plastics can. Performance plastics are the natural choice when considering replacement for traditional materials, such as bronze, stainless steel, glass, wood and copper, for not just one reason but rather a combination of features and benefits.
Nearly all Performance Plastic grades can be recycled.
Because of their cost-effectiveness as well as their reliability, durability, and special characteristics like resistance to chemicals and corrosion the high performance plastic materials are steadily replacing metals in the oil and gas industry. The constant development of new and better high performance plastics is therefore closely linked to the development and economic production of the range of available performance plastic materials. High performance plastics can be divided in amorphous and semi-crystalline polymers, just like all polymers.
Performance Plastics properties
Single Use Plastic properties
Long life – up to 50 years of service
Very short, often instant throw away
Little to no physical properties
High Heat Resistance
Very low melting point
Very light weight
Can be Very UV Resistant
Very Long Life
Extremely short life
Tough and Durable
Very High Impact Strength
Flimsy, low value
Why use a Performance Plastic?
Performance plastics are designed for repeated or multi-use applications and generate a smaller carbon footprint than glass, steel, or wood. High performance plastics are plastics that can perform well under extreme environments. Because most performance plastics are considered ‘self lubricating’, these materials can be made into parts that replace metals, and don’t require the continual maintenance and lubrication that metals require.
Over the past few decades Mechanical Plastics have increasingly replaced metals due to their strength-to-weight ratios, and resistance to wear have surpassed aluminum and steel, respectively. When certain additives are blended with thermoplastic polymers, this performance plastic can meet code and compliance requirements for smoke, flammability, and even toxic gas release. Several high end performance plastics can meet the stringent FM-4910 flame and smoke rating.
Performance Plastic materials are not ‘cheap’
As opposed to ‘single use’ plastics, the performance plastic materials are not inexpensive or ‘throw away’. Rather these high performance materials are designed for specific applications, and out perform most other substrates. Other characteristics of high performance plastics can be extraordinary resistance to wear and tear, high purity or particular electrical insulation. High performance plastics are plastics that can perform well under extreme circumstances. High performance plastics are best known for their temperature, chemical and wear resistance.
Performance Plastics offers high performance plastics for high performance applications, at economical prices, made by quality American made engineering plastics manufacturers. High-performance plastics are formulated to operate under extreme chemical, high temperature and heavy load applications or any combination of these. Most performance plastics are used where the highest demands are placed on thermal or chemical resistance, product mechanics, or on the self-lubrication of products.
In the performance plastic market, one size does not fit all. With over 50 high performance plastics, each with its own physical properties, several materials may be proper choices for your performance plastic requirement. Please feel free to call one of our certified and trained customer service personnel for assistance in choosing the best performance plastic for your application.
There are several manufactures of Gray PVC Sheet in North America. One of the best knows name for over 60 years has been Boltaron®. They have produced a high quality PVC sheet that is well know and respected. In 2004, Boltaron® acquired the assets of Empire Plastics, an Ohio based PVC Sheet producer, adding to Boltaron® overall production capacity. This acquisition was designed to also add to their already robust product line.
In early 2014, Simona® America Group (also known at Simona AG) acquired all of Boltaron® Performance Products, and Simona® also acquired Laminations, Inc. of Hazleton, PA.
Simona® America is a leading producer of a wide variety of Performance Plastics including: PVC Sheet, HDPE Sheet, Polypropylene Sheet and Kynar® PVDF Sheets. The purchase of Boltaron® Plastics boosted the width and breadth of the product lines already supplied by Simona® America. With the addition of Laminations Inc., Simona® America added an industry leader in high tech plastics that meet the FM-4910 fire ratings, including: PVC, Polypropylene and Kynar® PVDF sheet materials.
For the last 3 years, Simona® America has been actively combining the product lines that Simona produced along with Boltaron® and Laminations® production, and trimming duplicate productions. A concerted effort was made to harmonize the materials, so all materials would be from the same resins and will look and perform in a similar fashion, and as a result will optimize manufacturing efficiencies.
This is just a name change and the PVC sheet will continue to be the same great product as before. There is no difference between the two materials, the name change only reflects the transition from the 2 manufacturing companies to the combined manufacturing capacity of Boltaron® and Simona® Type 1 Gray PVC Sheet and Sheeting. Type 1 PVC Sheet continues to offer one of the lowest priced materials that meets the difficult UL 94 V-0 fire rating.
There will be no change to quality or lead times, and the PVC Type 1 sheet will still be available from .060” – 4.0” thickness. One key to the Simona acquisition is that Boltaron® Performance Products has been the only North American company to produce products using extrusion, calendaring and press lamination all under one roof. Boltaron® can produce the widest thickness range of standard and specialty PVC plastic sheeting in the industry, from .003” to 4.0” thickness. They also possess the capacity to produce sheets of multi-layer composites, which can provide a broad range of physical properties.
Due to the wide range of products that Boltaron® has the capacity to produce; Simona® can now add to their offerings these additional products. The Boltaron® plant has extreme proficiency in producing PVC Sheet as well as PVC Alloys and Composites. These materials generally carry very high flame resistant ratings, and some of Boltaron® materials carry the highest ratings available from UL. Some of the most common PVC materials are the Type 1 Gray PVC Sheet, Type 2 PVC Sheet, Clear PVC Sheets, and CPVC Sheet materials. Much like a standard sheet of plywood, PVC sheet materials are normally produced in 48” X 96” sheets.
During the last year, the number and size of food recalls has been staggering. With several major food processors, specifically in the poultry market, recalling massive amounts of product due to contamination, perhaps a change in material is in order, simply changing to a Metal or X-ray detectable plastic material may end recalls for contamination. The cost to change to a metal detectable plastic or x-ray detectable plastic is extremely small in comparison to the cost of these recalls.
What is a detectable Plastic
There are numerous quality high performance plastic materials that are available in Blue, X-ray and Metal detectable versions. These materials are designed with food safety in mind. These materials can assist the food industry and the food processing supply chain in keeping our foods safe. Identifying contaminates in the processing of foods can be made significantly easier with these detectable materials. Food safety should be the priority within the food processing industry. By changing to metal detectable plastic and X-ray detectable plastics, this can become a reality.
Metal Detectable Plastic and X-Ray Detectable Plastics
Here is a recent Press Release detailing the recalls and a rather straight forward and easy solution using detectable plastic.
(Newswire.net — October 10, 2016) Anaheim, CA – Can ‘Blue’ fix food recalls? –The year 2016 has seen some staggering food recalls by large food processors. Massive recalls of chicken specifically seem to have happened multiple times. The part that is the most amazing is that the root cause of many of these kinds of recalls is preventable. The specific recalls listed below are all for possible plastic contamination in the food product.
These large food processors should be aware of some simple steps that can totally eliminate these kinds of contaminates from getting into their food products.
Penny Wise, Pound Foolish
Keeping Food Processing Safe
While using FDA approved plastic materials for conveyor parts and moving components is a standard practice in most food processing plants, many processors use the cheapest available approved materials. This means that many producers are using a natural (white) HDPE, Acetal or other white approved plastic material. While it is safe to use these plastics, occasionally one of these parts gets jammed, breaks or wears to the point where parts can crack and pieces can get into the food processing line.
It Is Plain To See
The first easy step would be to use the same quality FDA approved material, but to buy the Blue metal detectable plastic version of the same approved material. This minor color change in the material makes any contaminates very easy to see with the naked eye. Since there are no food products in these bright blue colors, as long as there are employees looking at the food line, these broken pieces are easy to detect.
I Can See You
Speaking of detect, the big step up for detection of contaminates is to use a FDA approved plastic that is detectable by the X-ray or metal detection equipment already installed in these food processing lines. While these ‘metal detectable plastics’ cost more, they certainly cost less than one recent 4.5 million pound poultry recall.
The goal here is not to point the finger or call any company a ‘bad processor’, but rather to encourage these great food processors to use the ‘best practice’ types of materials to eliminate these monster food recalls.
In September 2016, Tyson Foods recalled 130,000 pounds of chicken nuggets for foreign materials in the product.
“According to Tyson Foods, the plastic material ranged in size from 21mm in length and 6.5mm in diameter and may have come from a round, hard plastic rod used to connect a plastic transfer belt. The firm said the products pass through a metal detector, but the plastic is not detectable to this technology,” the USDA recall announcement said.
Have You Considered Detectable Blue?
Blue Metal Detectable Plastics From Ensinger
Perhaps they could consider using a metal detectable plastic that is detectable by a standard metal detector. Industrial Plastic Supply has supplied this FDA approved Metal Detectable UHMW rod since early 2010. Currently, there are several FDA approved materials that are available in Blue; UHMW, Acetal, Nylon, Polyester and now PEEK. Some of these materials are also available in a ‘triple detection’ version, where it is detectable because of the vivid Blue color, and it is also Metal detectable and X-Ray detectable. One of these new versions is the Ultra-Detectable Polyester rod made by Ensinger® Plastics called Hydex® 4101 UD Blue (FDA Grade Polyester).
–In April and May of 2016, Pilgrim’s Pride had a recall totaling 5,550,904 pounds (yes 5.5 million pounds) of poultry do to possible foreign matter contamination.
The cost is staggering. To recall this quantity of food takes a small army of people to identify the possibly contaminated batches of food. Then notification is spread to all the possible distribution and wholesalers. The USDA is normally notified as one more step to notify the public.
Simple method to protect the safety of our food chain using detectable plastic materials
What is the cost to change to a more metal detectable plastic?
This depends on the type of plastic, and the detection method.
Let’s assume that the currently used material is an FDA approved grade of 1″ diameter Natural Acetal rod (a popular performance plastic used in food processing). And let’s assume this material would sell for approximately $2.00 – $2.50 per linear foot.
Changing to a Bright Blue FDA approved grade of Acetal Rod would cost about $3.50 – $4.00 per foot.
Upgrading to a Metal and X-ray detectable plastic that is FDA grade and Blue Acetal plastic rod would cost in the range of $8.25 – $9.00 per foot.
A recall of 100,000 pounds of poultry is, of course, significantly more expensive than upgrading the plastic materials in the food processing plant. Consider the upgrade an inexpensive insurance policy against these kinds of monster recalls, with a simple change to metal detectable plastic materials.
Metal Detectable Plastic and X-Ray Detectable Plastics Actually Saves Money
Contact us for more information on these Metal Detectable Plastic and X-Ray detectable plastic products. Blue Sheet and Rod are available in Acetal, Delrin®, Nylon, PBT – Polyester, and more. The special ‘triple detectable’ grades are currently produced in Acetal (Tecaform® UD Blue) and PBT – Polyester (Hydex® 4101 UD Blue). More materials are in final stages of development. Contact us for your special requirements.
Yes, UV Resistant Recycled Plastic Lumber lasts and lasts
What happens to your ‘blue recycled trash’ materials? A common question regarding recycling is, ‘Does It Work’?
The answer is ‘YES’ it certainly works.
One of the most recycled plastic materials is HDPE. This is the material that laundry detergent bottles, milk jugs, opaque vitamin bottles and many more common household containers are made from. The HDPE is a FDA and NSF approved resin, and is the go to material for cutting boards, margarine containers, food storage containers, and many of your milky colored drinking cups.
So, what happens to these items after you put them into your recycle bin?
Your local recycling center sorts through your clean recyclables and segregates the materials by the type of plastic. HDPE has the recycle code of #2, and this can be found on the bottom of many of your plastic items. The other plastic items are sorted out based on the recycle number and type of material. This allows for better and more efficient reprocessing of these resins into new and re-purposed items.
The reprocessing of plastic scrap or discarded post consumer products generated a large quantity of plastic material. The HDPE recycling market is a fast growing area of the recycled plastic sector. The other common plastic that is recycled is PET, which has the code of #1, and this is the very clear water bottles and soda bottle material.
Once the discarded containers and other HDPE scraps are collected, they are sent to a recycle plant. This is where the containers are cleaned, sent to the grinder, and converted into small pieces that can be used in the manufacture of new products. This reprocessing of post consumer goods into a usable plastic lumber is the first step in the recycling process. Much later, after the very long life of the HDPE recycled lumber is over, it can be again reprocessed into another recycled HDPE product, maybe even another piece of HDPE plastic lumber. The cycle of using an already produced plastic product, and then reusing, recycling or re-purposing this material is as environmentally responsible as any consumer can be. This ‘closed loop’ recycling eliminates the use of other natural resources, and cuts the impact on our planet.
In a recent press release, HDPE recycled content from milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles, shampoo bottles and other post consumer content are gathered. Then it is ground to usable sizes, and then reprocessed into Recycled HDPE Plastic Lumber. The only additive are the colorant and a UV stabilizer or UV resistant additive. The material is sent threw an extruded or molding process, and the result is a plastic boards that look like real wood, but will out last any wood product by 5 – 10 times, and not require the maintenance that we know is required with wood lumber. The premium recycled HDPE plastic lumber, made by Bedford Technologies, has a 50 year warranty.
That’s a long time, our UV Resistant Recycled Plastic Lumber will last.
Plastic lumber does not rot, splinter, require paint or sealants annually, nor any other regular maintenance. Perhaps a semi-regular washing down is all that would be needed to have this material continue to look like new.
What are popular items that are made from this recycled HDPE plastic lumber? The limit to uses is only limited by your imagination. Some of the most common HDPE plastic lumber products are: outdoor decks, outdoor furniture, docks for lakes and marinas, trellises, walkways, playground components, parking bumpers, sign posts and many more. All of these items outperform the lumber products previous used for these applications.
Call us for more information on the available sizes and colors of recycles HDPE plastic lumber, 866-832-9315.
People in the plastics industry have known for over 50 years that Polycarbonate Sheets are tough. This clear plastic sheet material is commonly used to replace window glazing. The best known property for this polycarbonate sheet material is that it is break resistant, or in many cases, unbreakable. This is a great benefit for areas where window glass is broken easily.
Recently some cities have passed ordinances to change out the plywood window coverings on abandoned homes, and they are installing clear polycarbonate sheets instead. This is a very attractive replacement, and is a big step in fighting the blight of abandoned homes.
Polycarbonate is produced under several trade names, including Plaskolite Tuffak® GP, Covestro Makrolon®, SABIC Lexan®, Cyrolon®, Zelux® and many more. These materials are available in sheets, plate, slab, bar and rod.
Read more on this material below.
Excerpt from AZCentral, The Arizona Republic:
Property owners and banks in Phoenix had begun outfitting windows with sheets of polycarbonate, a thin, nearly indestructible plastic that mirrors the appearance of glass.
And last month, the city became among the first in the U.S. to make polycarbonate windows a matter of municipal law.
Phoenix now requires all window and door openings visible from the street to be secured with the material if the structure has been unoccupied for more than 90 days. The 90-day provision is also new, replacing the previous deadline of 180 days. The measures were the result of an abandoned buildings task force that Gallego spearheaded.
No one likes living next to abandoned buildings with boarded up doors or windows. So the city of Durham started replacing the plywood eyesores with a clear, durable plastic.
The city is working to reduce the number of abandoned houses by helping owners fix them up. But for houses that still need boarding up, the city has found that plastic not only improves the overall appearance of a neighborhood, it may reduce crime by discouraging squatters and making it easier for police to see inside vacant buildings.
“I can’t stress enough how the elimination of the boards has a tremendous positive impact on neighborhoods and communities,” said Faith Gardner, housing code administrator of the city’s department of neighborhood improvement services.
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/durham-county/article20778429.html#storylink=cpy
These communities have fought back against vandalism and crime, as well as enhanced the value of local homes by changing from Plywood to Clear Polycarbonate Sheets. Tuffak GP is a super tough glazing grade clear Polycarbonate Sheet material is the same kind of material that Police Officers use for face shields and banks are using for bullet resistant glazing.
The premier manufacturer of Polycarbonate Sheet in the USA is Tuffak® PG made by Plaskolite and made from Covestro® (formerly Bayer MaterialScience) resins, and they produce Tuffak® GP Polycarbonate Sheet. Polycarbonate is also available in rod and thick plate for machined parts.
Consider using Polycarbonate sheet for your next glazing material.